It seems like everywhere you turn, someone else is boldly declaring their plan for greatness at each New Year. As a firm believer in making resolutions and changes for yourself no matter what time of year, I decided to focus on my health for 2017 and get the medical check-ups I’d been neglecting for seven years or so.
First priority was a “quick” check-up to look at my thyroid. I’d taken family pictures for Christmas and you could see some kind of lump on my throat.
It had been there for as long as I could remember so I didn’t think anything of it. But I had friends and family point out that I might need to get it checked out. I went to the doctor and he looked at me and said “Oh yeah… it’s most likely just an issue with your thyroid. Let’s get some blood work and then once I know what kind of medication you need, I’ll call it in and you’ll be good to go.” Hooray! Item #1 checked-off my list. Way to go, Dev! You’re rocking this resolution thing!
A few hours later, the blood work comes back and, alas, nothing is ‘wrong’ with my blood so, the schedule me for an ultrasound in which the lovely technician looks at me and says, “So… any history of cancer in your family?”
I went back to the doctor the following week and he casually told me that we are going to have to do a biopsy of the mass and I finally had the courage to ask the dreaded question. “Um… with the biopsy… I, uh, did blood work before at my original appointment. Wouldn’t that have told me if it was cancerous or not?” He bows his head for a second before looking at me and saying “Not necessarily.”
Not necessarily. Not necessarily?! You’re telling me I’ve been thinking for weeks now that I just have this weird mass on my thyroid that needs to be taken out but I was okay because it for sure wasn’t cancer? And that now I might be a 26-year-old mom of a three-year-old with CANCER?
Back home to my husband I go where I had the breakdown of all breakdowns. What kind of joke was this?? I started with a damn New Year’s Resolution to take care of myself so I could live and long, happy life and here I am two months into the year getting prepped for surgery and screened for cancer. We talk things through, went through the horrific experience of telling my family, and spent the next few weeks in bleak anticipation of my biopsy.
I won’t go into too much detail, but let me tell you… that’s something I don’t ever want to do again. While everything looked good, the only way they will know for sure is when they test it while I’m in surgery. Great. Back on the waiting roller coaster.
Waiting to have surgery. Waiting to see if I have cancer and need additional treatment. Waiting to see if I may be fighting a disease that could leave my husband and three-year-old son without a wife and Mom.
Now, I’m not telling you to get pity points. Trust me, I know how fortunate I am. I tell you this because even though everything came out fine and I was fortunate enough to be cancer-free, this process changed my life.
I spent these first couple of months of 2017 smiling and nodding through the day and then get in bed at night and just cry, and cry to my husband. I was utterly terrified that I wasn’t going to get the chance to be the mom, wife, community member, philanthropist, friend, or motivator that I wanted to be.
I evaluated my life, looked at the things that were making my unhappy, and I promised myself no more. Life is too damn short to be unhappy. Period. But it’s not as simple as just cutting things out that I didn’t like. I knew it was going to take a whole lot of willpower, spirit, and Moxie to get to where I wanted to go. I knew it might make other people confused, angry, uncomfortable, or upset. But I knew then, as I know now, that for me and my family, it would be worth it. No more being complacent and feeling like I had no control over my life. NO MORE WAITING. It was time to start living intentionally.
More than that, I was confident that there were other people out there just like me. Who, hopefully, wouldn’t need a life-threatening or scary moment to get them to realize they wanted more. I saw that hope, that determination, in New Years Resolutions and conversations with friends almost daily. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was being called to do something about it. To create a community of imperfect people who are wanting to live their best lives. Thus, Moxie was born.